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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 15443
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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My solicitor should have (as instructed) exchanged sell and

Customer Question

My solicitor should have (as instructed) exchanged sell and buy contracts but only exchange on our sale leaving us out of pocket and unable to complete on the purchase on the agreed date. Is our solicitor liable?
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this? In which country do you live? If different, which country is your legal question related to?
Customer: This relates to England and I have discussed this with them yet as I need to know where I stand.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Non I have made some calls to the people we are buying off and they say there is a problem up the chain
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I don't think so
Submitted: 9 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.

Thank you for the question, I am reviewing the details now and I will aim to resolve it as quickly as possible for you.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

Sorry to hear of the problem.
The solicitor has to act in accordance with your instructions. You pay them to do a job at a high professional level and if their conduct falls short of what is to be expected of a reasonably competent solicitor, they would be liable for your loss. You would have a claim in professional negligence against them. Solicitors are heavily regulated - the Solicitor's Regulation Authority (SRA) can strike off a solicitor for conduct assuming they breach the SRA rules / their code of conduct.
It does sound like they were negligent in your situation. The solicitor is supposed to be an expert and to act in your best interests.

You can claim for your losses incurred as a result of their negligence.

Where you go from here is to make a complaint to the law firm - they have to deal with a complaint and they have to notify their professional indemnity provider.
If the complaint does not resolve this you can go to the Legal Ombudsman which is quicker than court action and free to use - the Ombudsman's decision is legally binding on the law firm if you accept their decision too.
You can reach the Ombudsman once you have the final response from the law firm - they can be reached here: https://legalombudsman.org.uk

You do have up to 6 years from the date of your loss to sue the solicitor in a professional negligence claim - this would be a last resort as the Ombudsman may well resolve this for you.
It is not a small claims case given the complexity of a professional negligence claim - so do not be tempted to sue a small claim or use the money claim online site as it may be struck out by the court.
A claim such as this is complicated - for that reason where are law firms who offer no win no fee agreements - you do not face a financial risk if you use one of those. You shouldn't take on a case like this yourself so I will set out a few choices for you as follows :

  1. https://www.irwinmitchell.com/personal/protecting-your-rights/resolving-disputes/professional-negligence

  2. https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/professional-negligence-solicitors/

  3. https://www.donoghue-solicitors.co.uk/professional-negligence/professional-negligence-no-win-no-fee/

  4. https://www.beenletdown.co.uk/professional-negligence/solicitor/no-win-no-fee-professional-negligence/

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

I hope this answers the question. If you have any follow up questions then please do let me know.

Many thanks,
Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

Just a final note that I am free most days and would be happy to assist with any other queries you may have.

Best wishes,

Jim